I’ve decided to start you all at the beginning and fill you in on the journey I’ve taken so far in my attempt to achieve publication.
I’m hoping this will help do a few things:
- Keep me from forgetting the long and winding road it indeed has been. Truth be told, like childbirth, I think I’m already blocking out some of the more painful and upsetting events.
- When (notice I’m saying not if, but when) I eventually get published, keep anyone from referring to my publication as an “overnight success”. Because seriously…
- Allow me to get the whole long and boring story out, once and for all, in one place, thereby quenching my compulsion to tell anyone who asks the entire play-by-play story of my road to publication.
- Hopefully help anyone who’s at an earlier juncture on this road than I am…
So, with that in mind, “Let’s start at the very beginning…a very good place to start.” Oh, I love Julie Andrews!
Once upon a time there was a girl who felt frustrated and thwarted in her attempts to get a novel published. Until one day it it dawned upon her she had never completed a novel, nor submitted one for publication, and that was the day she also realized this was not going to happen by magic but was going to require butt-in-seat, pedal-to-metal, blood-sweat-and-tears, hard work. So we will call that day, Day One.
On Day One she chose a target, attained a goal, got motivated and started writing in a focused manner and her whole world changed.
Interestingly enough, I never thought I’d write YA. When I was a YA myself I read voraciously. I read EVERYTHING. I read stuff that was YA (even though it wasn’t called that yet – check out this post at Two Writers Talking to see some examples), I read stuff that was “too young” for me (Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden) and I read grown-up stuff that I probably didn’t fully understand.
But when I thought of myself as writing, it never occured to me it would be anything but a grown-up novel. And the project I had proceeded the farthest on was, in fact, an adult novel on which I had written about 50,000 words. However, I hadn’t finished it (still haven’t, but that’s another story).
Then I stumbled across this contest. Held by Orca Publishing, it was called “So you think you can write” and was looking for YA submissions, minimum 30,000 words.
I sat down and started writing. Finished at 31,000ish words and thought, “there done!” Sent it off and waited to win.
So much of that is ridiculous, now that I look back on it. Just in case you’re still so early in the game that you don’t know what was ridiculous about it, I’ll save you the grief of learning for yourself:
- 30,000 words is a ludicrous length for the kind of fiction I write. That same story – since revised about five times – is now approximately 61,500 words and it’s still a relatively short novel. 30,000 words is fine for some categories but not for the type of older teen reader I’m going for. But I didn’t know.
- I didn’t have anyone read it over. Didn’t get any feedback. Didn’t even put it aside for a month and read it with fresh eyes. I was on target, on a roll, on deadline and I got those 30,000 words out on time. Good for me!
- As if I was going to win the contest…
However, ridiculous as all that was, I finished a manuscript. FINISHED! My story had a beginning a middle and an END. It was the first time I could say that. I had something to work with and I’ve been working with it ever since. I’ll tell you about the next part of that work on my next installment of “Attempted Publication…”